Sheffield United 2-0 Coventry City
TWO FORMER Sky Blues players all but hammered the final nails into Coventry City’s relegation coffin after goals from John Fleck and Leon Clarke earned Sheffield United a 2-0 win at Bramall Lane.
The Blades fans were celebrating another step towards automatic promotion at the final whistle on Wednesday evening, while those brave 300 travelling City fans felt the pain of a 15th defeat on the road this season.
Mark Robins’ side were evidently brimming with confidence from Sunday’s Wembley win and they looked comfortable in possession early on.
Gael Bigirimana had the game’s first attempt on goal when he hit an audacious 30-yard shot narrowly over the bar with nine minutes played but his attempt sparked the hosts into life.
Backed by a voca home support, the Blades began to dominate possession and it was not long before they created chances of their own.
On 16 minutes former Sky Blues midfielder John Fleck picked out James Hanson with a superb long ball and the Blades striker was given a sight on goal but Lee Burge was able to make a routine save.
Just a minute later Daniel Lafferty thought he had opened the scoring with a powerful low shot from the edge of the area, but with Burge beaten, his shot whistled inches past the post.
The Blades came close again with 23 minutes on the clock. Fleck was found at the byline and his pull-back was met by Hansen in front of goal but somehow he blazed the ball high over the bar from five yards out.
As the half wore on the home supporters became increasingly frustrated as the Sky Blues looked organised at the back and dealt with each Blades attack.
With 34 minutes gone a rare City attack saw Ryan Haynes run towards goal and shoot but his right-footed shot took a deflection was easy for Moore.
There was one final chance for the visitors in first half stoppage time as Jones got to the byline and crossed for Haynes at the far post but his header across the face of goal was cleared by the home defence.
Once again the Sky Blues started the brighter of the two sides after the re-start with Bigirimana doing well to pick out Jones who hit a left-footed shot narrowly over the bar.
And just before the hour mark Lameiras had the best chance of the match when the ball fell kindly for the tricky City winger but he fired his volley straight at Moore.
Jodi Jones was proving to be a constant threat down the right and he twice cut inside to good effect but saw his shot firstly well blocked before being denied a penalty.
Somewhat against the run of play the home side got their noses in front through substitute Clarke who was in the right place to stab the ball home in front of goal in the 69th minute.
Just moments later Haynes was played in down the left and delivered a dangerous cross into the area but there was no City player in the box ready to pounce.
The Blades made the visitors pay for that miss by doubling their advantage with 15 minutes remaining through another familiar face.
Fleck was given the time and space to run with the ball towards the edge of the City penalty area before slotting a neat finish past Burge into the bottom corner.
Both sides had half chances late on but the damage had already been done and there was to be no way back into the match for the visitors who came crashing back down to earth following Sunday’s Wembley exploits.
Attendance: 24, 334 (308 Sky Blue Army)
Coventry City: Burge, Willis (Stevenson 45), Stokes, Turnbull, Bigirimana, Clarke, Lameiras, Jones, Tudgay, Foley, Haynes (Thomas 78)
Subs – Beavon, Folivi, Rawson, Charles-Cook, Kelly-Evans